brave lady & el guapo
by Julie Sanchez-Barcelona
This is a story of courage and bravery I'd love to share with you.
I was very lucky to have a successful breeding pair of Lady Gouldians until sadly the female died one night due to a sudden overnight drop in temperature. We were all very sad at this loss, especially "El Guapo" her partner. But knowing what a good father he is we decided to buy another female for him. My boys called her Queen after their favorite pop group and El Guapo was delighted with his new girlfriend. Unfortunately the feeling wasn't mutual and for the first year she all but ignored him.
But El Guapo wasn't easily put off and he kept building nests for her and spending hours trying to encourage her inside. Finally after two years all his hard work paid off and Queen produced an egg!! He lovingly sat on it while she tended to be rather indifferent to the whole affair. Then disaster struck.
I noticed Queen was flapping her wings a lot and on investigation I saw she'd somehow caught her leg on the feeder. I quickly removed her only to realize in her attempt to escape she'd virtually severed her foot.
I dashed to my local vet who immediately sent me to the animal hospital in the next town. My local vet had phoned ahead and they were waiting for us. The vet kindly explained that the injury was very severe and the only hope was to amputate the leg below the joint, but with a bird so tiny as Queen the shock would probably kill her, but they would do all they could for her.
I could do no more but go home and wait for the call which came a few hours later. You can't imagine how thrilled I was to learn that the operation had been a success, Queen had survived and was in "recovery" on oxygen!!
My husband and I went to collect her a few hours later and the vet herself was amazed at the courage of Queen. She really must have a heart of steel. She was very lively and really didn't seem any worse the wear for her ordeal.
The next ten days were difficult for both Queen and I because I had to change her dressing every morning, the first day it took me three attempts and 45 minutes. I was in tears by the time I finally did it. I was all thumbs trying to clean and dress this quarter inch stump, but despite my feelings of sheer frustration at my fumbling, I persevered and soon became quite expert. One day I removed the dressing and the leg had turned black - gangrene!! So back to the vets again. Luckily, it was al right. We'd caught it in time, but now my daily routine included a 5 minute massage of her leg too. Finally after ten days her stitches were removed and the vet said give her a couple of days to adjust then she can be returned to the main cage.
During the first two days after Queen's accident El Guapo remained on the egg. Once he realized she wasn't coming back he gave up. He then proceeded to rip all his feathers out; he looked like a plucked chicken. He was obviously very stressed. In fact we were more worried about his health than Queen's because she was doing so well and he was looking very out of sorts. Everyday I put the cage with Queen in next to the big aviary and he sat as close to her as he could.
Now Queen is back in the main cage. She seems very happy to be back "home". El Guapo is delighted to say the least even though he knows things are a bit different now. She's managing to adapt to only one leg, but perching is difficult so she tends to sit on top of the nesting boxes. I've had to make some special arrangements for her seed and water.
My children now call her "Long Queen Silver", but I just call her my very "Brave Lady" and with El Guapo at her side who knows what may happen next breeding season................................
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